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'Cut loose': Zac Robinson, Jimmy Lake and the notion of freedom that transcended their first days on the job as Falcons coordinators

Robinson and Lake may not have all the answers yet, but what they do have is a foundation they want to implement. It's a foundation in freedom. 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons newest offensive coordinator, Zac Robinson, was on his second full day on the job when he held his introductory press conference at the Falcons facility on Wednesday afternoon. Because of that, there were questions he just couldn't answer yet.

"I'm just hoping I can remember my login for my computer," Robinson quipped.

The joke was met with laughter from the media corps in attendance. The thing is, though, there was real truth in the joke.

Robinson was asked questions about his scheme. Questions that he just didn't have the answers for yet.

"(The scheme) is going to be something that we're going to be working on for the next couple of months," the first-time offensive coordinator said. "So, to say that we have an exact idea of exactly what that's going to look like right now wouldn't be fair."

He was asked questions about the quarterback, too. Obviously, he can't divulge the name of a target (or targets), so the answers he gave about the position and its future in Atlanta were more abstract than concrete.

"When you look at that position, that guy has to be the most competitive guy in the room," Robinson said. "... These games are so close in the NFL, and you gotta have a guy who wants the ball in his hands in those crunch-time moments."

Before Robinson hit the podium for his press conference, new Falcons defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake did the same. Because of the nature of the defense and the pieces in place, he felt he could share a bit more information, namely that the Falcons would run the defensive unit out of a base 3-4 look. Other than that, though? That was kind of it for the defensive coordinator, too.

But when asked about what his defensive philosophy is, Lake had this to say.

"This is what I am hoping," Lake said, "on opening day in September -- hopefully we're playing at home here -- that you would see our defense play fast, play free and play physical."

Not 15 minutes later, Robinson said something similar about his offensive philosophy.

"We want to be fast. We want to be physical and we want to be aggressive at all times," Robinson said about the offense. "... At the forefront of this thing, we just want these guys to just go play."

Fast and physical.

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The Falcons newest coordinators may not have all the answers right now, but they have their messaging. And let's be honest, it would be unfair to think they would have all of the answers on February 14. Unreasonable, even, seeing as the majority of the staff just got to Atlanta last week or this weekend. Answers to these questions will come with time and as Robinson, Lake and their staffs further dissect not only the players they'll inherit but also how they want this team to evolve in 2024.

They do have their baseline, though, their foundation; and it reverberated through everything they said Wednesday. In the end, everything pointed back to one word: Freedom.

Robinson made mention of it.

"The things that we're going to strive for is that it's always going to be about these players," Robins said, "and how we can provide the most clarity for those guys to just cut it loose on game day."

Lake named it, too.

"We're going to play fast because we're going to get fast players," Lake said. "But they're going to play free because they know when we call that defense they can diagnose it, they can read and react."

It's a freedom based in a certain sense of trust in the players, that they're going to make the play shine. It's a freedom based in comfort, too. That players feel at ease with what they're being asked to do. That the call -- as Lake said -- is not too complicated. That the coordinator isn't asking too much of them. As Robinson alluded to with the offense, it's about knowing you have playmakers and those playmakers thrive in clarity of direction as much as anything.

So, while Robinson and Lake may not have the answers to all of the Falcons offseason questions right now, they have a standard they know they want to implement. It's a standard in freedom.

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